Ghost Producing: What the EDM Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

In the celebrity branding industry, ghosting is a given. Consumers don’t expect The Jersey Shore’s Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to have written her novels (although it’s pretty clear her experiences influenced A Shore Thing), nor is it assumed Rihanna, in creating her poorly-reviewed-but-successful River Island collection, sat down to put together ideas and cut patterns. On the other hand, these two (as well as the plethora of names behind the ridiculously lucrative celebrity fragrance market) didn’t make their fame on being a writer or fashion designer, respectively, so ghosting claims are, really, no big deal.

On the other hand, if it were suddenly revealed Rihanna didn’t sing on any of her albums or high number of chart-topping singles, it would be. After all, even though critics go after her limited-range voice, her sound is unmistakable and sells an obscene amount tracks.

But while ghosting charges leveled against Rihanna would be a pop music community scandal, similar accusations get swept under the rug in the electronic dance music community. At the 2013 Winter Music Conference, Bimbo Jones’ Lee Dagger, duo Sick Individuals, and Disfunktion’s Mike Tielemans touched on this hush-hush phenomenon during panel “Re: Crafted, Re: Modeled & Re: Mixed” but quickly went onto another subject. But just as the recent EDM surge in the U.S. has turned DJs into rock stars, not on the basis of their actual DJing skills but on tracks that make it onto the radio and sell on Beatport, rumors about which big-name producers have ghost DJs began to circulate.


A TranceAddict.com forum post attempted to list the artists who do this. The most notable, out of those listed include Tiesto, Dave Dresden of Gabriel & Dresden, Paul Oakenfold (who, apparently, can’t even write a melody), Sasha, and Paul Van Dyk. But because ghost producing hasn’t been confirmed for any of these performers, the statements don’t go beyond rumors.

Interviews, however, give a more solid idea about who might not be doing all their own production. To ClaytonPerry.com, Benny Benassi was more candid about who does what in the Benassi Bros. At one point, he calls cousin Alle “my producer and studio partner” and later goes onto explain that, while he has a background as a house DJ, Alle is a classically-trained musician.

But, while Benny Benassi furtively comes clean, another DJ revealed he provides the technical manpower behind David Guetta’s tracks. In Ready2Move.be, Joachim Garraud admitted the supposed sound behind “Where Them Girls At?” directly comes from him. While the interview is in French, the translated version of Garraud’s statement about Guetta is: “David is not a musician,

[he] is not a technician, so he comes over with ideas, ideas samples, textures and sounds, etc., after they performs together, and it is true that it is I who am behind the machines, because they are my machines and my studio.”

How Does Ghost Production Work?

In a sense, ghost DJing is a loose concept, encompassing the engineering and composition a DJ’s track may have to full-on creation. Any “help” a producer may receive, then, qualifies as ghosting. “Whether it’s an engineer whiz kid who can finish off a good idea, a sound designer who makes incredible synth lines, or a full-fledged ghost producer there are a ton of people involved,” Alex Vickers explained in Magnetic in May 2012. “There’s a huge amount of man hours that go into a professional sounding song, there’s so many facets of production that it’s borderline impossible to be a master of everything. There’s the sound design, melody writing, drum programming, recording vocals, arrangement and any other lose ends. And there’s the mixing and mastering stage, which is just as much an art form as the production itself.”

But a tweak or refinement here and there seems reasonable for a DJ/producer on the road for 80 percent of the year. On the other hand, if a producer gets known for a particular sound (say, the cacophonic wub-wub-wub of any Skrillex track), they should be the ones creating it – not to do so is disingenuous, particularly during a period of EDM in which a hit single gets DJing talent noticed or takes his career up to a higher level.

ghost-studioYet, more is often asked through advertisements for ghost producers. Take this Freelancer.com bid, which requests the ghost producer be able to do everything from composition to mastering of a complextro track. The bidder, to give the ghost producer an idea of what’s wanted, stated he’ll provide examples.

Beyond the single advertisements, covert ghost producing services are out there. Rebelution Studios is just one of those – and, according to its Facebook updates, does it very successfully. While its presence is but a whisper on the internet (28 Facebook “likes” as of April 7, 2013), its status updates paint a different picture: “3 tracks in the beatport top 100!” (October 18, 2012), “we are proud to welcome a BIG NAME DJ as our new customer” (May 24), “even Grammy nominated DJs/Artists (Best Remix) have ghost producers….” (April 10), “Yeah! Our production hits the US dance chart” (March 27).

Who could be behind these tracks? Rebelution’s producers, who seem to get targeted on Soundcloud, likely have to keep quiet, but the company’s “likes” include Afrojack, Axwell, and Hardwell.

If Rebelution’s social media presence is shady, GetGrooves247 is more forthright, posting demos up to Facebook, as well as YouTube and Soundcloud. Its services as listed as composition, writing, and production for nearly all EDM subgenres, as well as some commercial music.

In some cases, those who start out ghost producing end up having real DJing or producing careers. That’s how Hypercolour’s Alex Jones got his start, he revealed in Mixmag in October 2012. “I think it’s a fucking joke,” he said. “I have done it in the past because I needed money. More often than not the client will ask you to ‘make a bomb’ – a silly phrase – and to ‘do it in one day for £150/£200 (also it would be really good if we could get a second one done in our time together)’. Firstly, if I could write a ‘bomb’ in a day, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you. Secondly, I’d never say I’d written a ‘bomb’ because, when you use the term ‘bomb’ you actually mean ‘get me to the top of the Beatport charts so I can fly around the world, see my picture in magazines and generally raise my social status’. Sadly, DJing and more recently ‘producing’ has become just another fashion accessory. You’ll generally find people like this high- fiving other people more famous than themselves in DJ booths and making damn sure they’re getting their photo taken alongside them.”

So, Why Do DJs Do It?

Three forces seem to keep ghost production going. One, the state of electronic music makes being a producer a necessity. Touched on at WMC, a DJ needs to put out that hit to get the prime gigs – few can truly subsist as a DJ alone, unless he or she has decades of clout. Even then, if the Oakenfold and Tiesto rumors are to be believed, those skills aren’t enough, so a hit single keeps a career relevant.

metersBut what happens when you’re a great DJ but supposedly a mediocre or technically un-savvy producer? Unless you have the connections (like Benny Benassi’s cousin), you seek out a service like Rebelution, which promises 100-percent discreet, pro-quality tracks. With a single, now you have a chance to compete and do your craft in the venues you want.

So, aside from production being a necessary stepping stone to a DJing career, the demand for big-name DJs puts them on the road for a good deal of the year. Although some claim to produce on the road, as all you supposedly need is a laptop and a good pair of headphones, the time doing and traveling between gigs is months away from the studio – and, essentially, away from time creating quality music and career-maintaining hits.

Social media’s hyper speed additionally influences the pace of EDM, which, really, translates to a need for producers to pump out the hits at an even greater pace than before.

Based on these factors (and the fact EDM’s growth doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon), it’s pretty clear why ghost producing is a negative mark on the industry. Yet, with sources claiming this practice dates back to the early days of electronica and with the demand for original productions (and high ranks on Beatport, iTunes, and Billboard charts) continuing to grow and to be the force keeping DJing relevant, it’s likely to turn into an industry norm, like synching during a live performance.

By | 2016-12-02T14:56:32+00:00 April 10, 2013|Opinion|92 Comments
  • leonffs

    Hasn’t been confirmed??? It’s WELL KNOWN that Tiesto uses Ghost Producers. Even his early hits were ghost produced. Below is taken from a beatport interview with one of his ghost producers, Dennis Waakop-Reijers:

    Of all our At The Controls producers, Dennis Waakop Reijers is perhaps the one engaged in the most traditional type of star/silent-partner relationship. Reijers is a name unknown to many, except for the most diligent trance fans, but, alongside Hans-Willem Mallon, over the past 15 years he has been the dominant voice in the musical output of the juggernaut that is Tiesto.

    What would you say your proudest production moment is?
    There are several. From the “Silence” remix I produced for Tiesto, which was a big success in a lot of countries, to Tiesto’s live opening in the GelreDome, using ”Adagio For Strings.” Of course, also the first time I heard my own production on radio.

    • DJ Johnny Fox

      I just can’t imagine being on tour constantly and still releasing tracks. Just doesn’t seem possible.

      • leonffs

        There are plenty of very well known DJ/Producers that manage to cope with it just fine. Armin Van Buuren tours an insane amount but still finds time to produce an album every 2 years. (Although to be fair he has a great studio partner in Benno de Goeij from Rank 1).

        BT manages just fine and does all his own productions.

        Deadmau5 really is as genuine as they come since he even live broadcasts on his website when he’s in the studio producing.

        • maxohm

          You do realize that Deadmau5 has multiple DJs who go out and perform and just wear the mask, right?

          • Dylan Ganz

            right, so obviously when he takes off his mask during the performance, it’s another DJ wearing a mask of Joel’s actual face. yep. that sounds right. how about actually going to one of his concerts?

          • Robert James

            ..mask or no mask, why the hell would I do that?

          • LOLZ

          • Sam Joiner

            Utter. Rubbish. Get your facts right!

        • True about BT, but “working” with or “collaborating” on ideas with someone, doesn’t necessarily constitute ghosting. I’ve ghosted before KNOWING that the track wouldn’t be anything huge, for a paycheck and a means to get the necessary tools to make my own tunes, on my own time. I don’t see anything wrong with this (maybe a bit dishonest?) Keep in mind these guys have the financial freedom (at this point) to sustain a life where even while touring, they can fly around and collaborate on tracks…this is a residual thing. If I meet up this year and write a bass track with you, it might evolve into something fantastic by next year and by the time I return, 30% of the track is complete. I believe the bigger names “visit” several key producers and work on several projects that never stop going…thus…sustaining a lifestyle of constantly creating & performing music. These guys have been doing it for many years, I have a ton of respect for that. I’ve been really in the thick of it for (I’d say) the last 7 years, so my time will come, if I’m persistent; if it means being HONEST about my productions and that takes 10 more years…so fucking be it.

    • maarten

      indeed, It’s a fact. I also know a guy who ghost produced for tiesto when he was still making trance. Now Showtek produces for Tiesto

  • Ktwe

    Danny Avila first track was ghost produced. Martin Garrix tracks were collabs with second line producers, but he got all the credit, enought to make him enter the american djing market. Nervo and so on.

    • YRUtrying

      I KNEW his tracks were just a bit too polished.

    • Tomas

      Danny Avila sucks, that dude is soo f*cking overrated, it hurts my ears when i hear his shit.

      • Ab Floyd

        me to i was waiting for someone to drop his name in these comments… his new track is about to be released and i smell bullshit. plus hes annoying as fuck.

  • Jakob Norée

    Rumours has it that Aviciis megahit “Levels” wasnt even written by Tim Bergling himself.

    Is it really true that Sasha has used or use ghost producers? Does anyone know?

    • jordan

      in his RA exchange he gladly admits the role of others in his early music. he then claims to have taken a few years off later to learn himself. its a good listen.

    • Sam Joiner

      Nathan Fake was 1 of 5 ghost producers on Sashas last album. They were all sworn to secrecy but Nathan let it slip, this obviously pissed Sasha off royally, hence why we never hear much about Nathan Fake anymore. Saying that, at least Sasha can actually produce.

  • Pryda

    champion of producing on the road is Mr. Eric Prydz!

    • Prydz is the real deal. For now on, it’s “video or it didn’t effing happen bro” -unfortunately, the general public isn’t aware, and will probably never care. A producer calls out “cool auto tune bro” and fans/regular peeps could give 2 shits, tuned or not. Shame but true.

  • Sean Pak

    This is why I never trust someone who is mainly known as a DJ. They’ve got to be AS known for, or more known for, their productions as well as their mixing skills. Cuz then I know they have the production talent not to cheat.

    Tiesto and Oakenfold never made very good music, ghost or no ghost. They’ve always been one-talent stars to me. On the other hand, a Ricardo Villalobos would never have a ghost. His productions have always been too good and too unique.

    • Ezzy

      Sorry, but I have to disagree. Tiësto made some of the best trance tunes of the 98-2002-ish era of melodic trance. Oakie continues do churn out absolutely blistering tracks of similar caliber as he did way back when as well as has a great podcast (Full on Fluoro). Don’t know who produces them, don’t really care, just love them to bits. Tiësto on the other hand has gone to the shithouse, literally. Fucking disgrace nowadays.

  • Fact: 1 in 5 producers know someone who has ghost written for Paul Oakenfold. I am that 1 in 5. My good friend wrote 50 tracks for him while living in his mansion in Beverly Hills 2 summers ago.

    • wow..Your good friend…is also a good friend of mine 😉 (talent lives in a small world) lol.

  • Evey Styles

    So if Guetta doesn’t do any of it, how is he a “producer” at all? He’s more of a draftsman.

  • Robert James

    PLEASE STOP USING THE WORDS ‘PRODUCER’ AND ‘DJ’ INTERCHANGABLY! Seriously, you ought to know better. DJs spin, producers produce. Even if your name is DJ HuxnSpux or whatever, if you’re producing a track, you’re acting as a producer. Please get it straight.

    • Galeson Eagle-Star

      Thank you!!! Dj’s Press Play/ Producers Press Record.

  • Ben

    There’s nothing wrong with ghost production. There is a reason why so many of the names mentioned are veteran acts. There used to be DJ’s AND producers nothing like it is today where everyone does both. In addition to traditionally seeking out records many DJs would know producers and get their tracks to play out developing a relationship this way. So when electronic music started gaining commercial appeal like other genres of music touring was the next logical step. If you want to tour you need to be known, most DJs were residents so would only be know locally. So in order to become know elsewhere you need to market your sound, i.e. the tracks you are going to play. This is how ‘ghost-production’ started and it made perfect sense in a time where most producers simply were not DJing. It’s important to remember DJs never used to be looked at like rockstars or idealized like they are today. That’s not to say ghost production isn’t rampant today but it’s not like the tracks are stolen. When you go to a Tiesto show or any show for that matter you shouldn’t be going to revel in how great he was to make the tracks but should be going for the sound that you associate with him and thats exactly what you’ll get.

  • Patrik Hlavenka

    Afrojack (manly because his music doesn’t need much effort), Hardwell and especially Axwell are not really good examples of people using ghost producing, those are the few, who make most of the work themselves. Also Nicky Romero, who made a lot of tracks for Guetta

  • TB

    Maarten Vorwerk is a ghost producer behind a lot of big tunes. He usually retweets every track he has done.

    (Some say he is also the man behind Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike)

  • sobercool

    Well, these ghost producers aren’t doing a great job either. And Benno doing “everything” for Armin doesn’t seen that bad after reading this.

  • I move to form an alliance of producers actually out there “doing” it. Hell, even if you’re doing it poorly, you’re still doing it better than most of the big names out there. All butthurt aside, it’s VIDEO OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN BRO.

  • Scooter Jackson

    Somebody (aka the “author”) needs to learn how the entertainment industry works. And to also learn what producer, writer, dj, engineer, and programmer actually mean.

  • Galeson Eagle-Star

    Of course there are production teams! Jimmy Klimek has been with PvD since his start as his studio mate. Once a dj or artist hits big, time gets very limited and there is an actual NEED for help in certain areas. This is a no brainer. However, having someone fully compose and produce your music is something entirely different. This article has it’s good point, but also some very weak arguments. 50/50.

  • Galeson Eagle-Star

    Also, you know the ghost producers from the quality real deals. The real deal priducers take YEARS to release full albums. Look at Orbital (legend), Crystal Method, Paul Van Dyk, Hybrid, etc- all of these artosts take anywhere from 2-4 years to put anything out. That means its quality work. “Producers” who pump out tracks every month are about quantity not quality. Real genuine artists need time to craft and perfect.

    • GonkWonk

      Erm, Orbital released 6 albums in 8 years between 1991-1999. And Paul van Dyk has used studio engineers and ‘ghost producers’ from the start.

      • Galeson Eagle-Star

        Actually, Orbital released 5 albums in a 10 year span. Green Album (1st) was a compilation of single vinyl pressings released since 1989. The only albums that were “back to back” were the afore mentioned “Green Album” and the follow up “Orbital 2” aka “The Brown Album”. Every album since has had two or more years between. There were singles and ep’s released between, but nothing to count for a full album. For PvD, isn’t that what I said? He used a studio mate from his production start, cuz he gained fame as a dj. I hope this helped you.

      • Galeson Eagle-Star

        Let me correct my error: Orbital’s first 5 albums were released in a ten year span. They’ve released more after that, but to solidify our conversation, their albums 1-5 were released in a ten year span.

  • frances

    A bit of a pointless write-up to be honest. Artists have had ghost producers/writers/whatever since the dawn of time across all kinds of genres, its nothing new. David Guetta is the ghost master lol

    • Galeson Eagle-Star

      I agree 100%. Why is this such a big deal? People need to realize that a single artists (once picked up with a label) does NOT do everything. Maybe a lot of inde artists (like myself) need to do everything cuz we have to, but major release artists always have help. Always. This write up, I hope helped shed some light on the truth, but the way it was painted as bashing artists as “fake” does not seem fair at all. Some are fake, some aren’t so this article was pretty one sided.

  • missmack

    Peven Everett is the greatest dance producer of all time just bought his latest he does it all himself. All of it even the products.

  • Tomas
  • nemesisfixx

    Peace to the REAL HARDSTYLE producers and DJs! HH, Zatox, Noize Controllerz, Techno Boy, The Prophet, Alpha Twins, …

    • Angus Green

      Lol . . . Hardstyle

      • nemesisfixx

        “The music that comes from within”

        • Exiled

          it doesnt take much to make hardstyle, its so repetitive , you just need one catchy ryhtym and repeat the same drums throughout the song….

          • nemesisfixx

            Wow! Since when was complexity of production the equivalent of quality? And if you must know, sometimes simplicity bares the ultimate beauty in many art forms.

            The other thing is that repetition is one of the fundamental techniques of rhythm and movement, and so hardstyle makes good use of this – moving us through the experience smoothly.

            Then the other argument for repetition shall come from the ages-old approach to making shamanic and trance-inducing music; for these forms of music that not only target dancing, but also altering the listener / performer’s state of mind, repetition is a fundamental unit. See this in trance, aboriginal ritual music, mantras, etc Hardstyle speaks to the spirit in this sense…

          • WeQqendi Walver

            xD most of hardstyle tracks are ripoffs taken from oldschool trance/techno

    • ScuL

      Are you serious? The hardstyle scene is probably the most corrupt and fake scenes out of them all! I have nearly a decade of behind-the-scenes experience within the industry and know most of those mentioned privately and can tell you that some of these names do not producer or heavily rely on others to make the tracks for them. The remainder are generic sell outs that only produce the cheese the masses want to hear in order to save their livelihood, if not they would be unemployed bums.

      • maarten

        that’s not true. Technoboy, The Prophet and Alpha Twins don’t produce their own tracks but HHZ and Noisecontrollers for sure. Zatox also produces his owns tracks but I think Tuneboy helps him.

        • ScuL

          Zatox produces his own stuff, I’ve known him since 2004. NC make their own I just wish they put more effort into making mature music. HHz is the biggest tumour in the scene, even though he does produce he miserably fails in all aspects of being a human. Your other assumptions are correct.

  • doc rasta
  • Maybe do some fact checking before you publish rumors? Paul Oakenfold has been producing since the 80’s. He was a major force behind both acid house and goa trance. He has composer and producer credits on more releases than most musicians amass in a lifetime (including film scores). I’ve met and photographed him at work. The idea that he can’t produce is absolute nonsense.

    • No one said he can’t produce. If someone believes that Oakie or PvD can’t produce, they know nothing about electronic music. The thing is, they’ve both used ghost producers from time to time for whatever reasons. That doesn’t equate to “can’t produce”. One recent example: Paul Oakenfold – Glow in the Dark.. that track’s got John Askew written all over it.

    • leonffs

      Dave Parkinson ghost produces for Oakenfold. This is well known by pretty much everyone in the industry. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  • Ghost Producers aka Engineers. Ask Rob Playford.

  • Augure

    This one of the stupidest, or rather “duh” article I’ve seen in a long time.

    One of the first thing I learn when I was a kid starting in music is that in ALL music domains and genres even in the most underground of labels, there are ghost-producers


    Well NONE of them are up on stage playing a real instrument…..Rhianna with a guitar….hah…..its all faked….

  • disqus_kRU53IjGpT

    “there’s so many facets of production that it’s borderline impossible to be a master of everything”

    it’s like omg, how is anybody a real musician? that like, takes forever!

    • Weaver2

      To be honest, almost every band in existence has their albums professionally mastered. Mastering is a craft unto itself.

      I mean, at least most of them actually write and perform their own music 😛

  • god

    Dave Dresden is a fake. Tiesto uses ghost producers and so does Paul Oakenfold. I read somewhere where BT, one of the leading pioneers in TRANCE/EDM sound, called out Oakenfold for not crediting one of his ghost producers on a record.

    • Meredith

      Dave Dresden always collaborates with others…when he wasn’t with Josh, he paired up with Mikael Johnston, and they released tracks as Dresden & Johnston. That has nothing to do with ghost producing.

  • nemesisfixx

    And because for most EDM fans, their experience of the music happens via live shows, the DJ plays a very big role in defining how one perceives and receives the music itself.

    For some genres (e.g HardStyle), it becomes hard to separate the DJs from the music – they define what the music is – they define its culture and religion.

    The producers might make the music, but we follow the DJ!

  • John McAllister

    Sooooo… what about the rest of us that apparently don’t have shame, money, or pride, to afford ghost-producers? I know I’ve been tinkering with production for going on 11 years, and I have NEVER used a single ghost producer or service… because that is elementary school bullshit… Getting feedback from friends is one thing, but if you get famous for someone else’s work, and don’t even take the time to thank the people responsible for your fame, I don’t care how much money you make: You’re still a cheater, and a liar.

  • Jason

    My comment doesn’t have much to do with the article, and I apologize in advance.. but what’s the name of the console in the first picture? Driving me crazy.. I’ve been looking all over the net.

  • thundavolt

    This is nothing new to music. It’s prevalent in hip hop. The problem is the world’s yearning for a genius. Everyone want to do these things where they hide in a cave and suddenly they’ve produced the best thing every. They hide because they don’t want anyone knowing they need help. It takes away from the mythology behind their success. That mystifying the process is what turns them into the celebrities they seek to be. This is true across so many industries.

  • Joel Adams

    Anyone who thinks this is a “dirty little secret” confined to EDM clearly has never worked in a professional studio, read liner notes for a CD or nearly any industry magazine.
    This is how the music business works people. Performers tour and make big bucks usually because they like the lifestyle and what comes with it. Producers can’t make money just selling underground tracks these days so producing for someone who can get your music heard and getting paid to do it makes sense for someone who likes the intricacy of music production.
    Now I’m not saying having a bunch of studio wiz kids design your set and then just putting in a CD isn’t wrong but to be fair EDM is Pop music now. This is how Pop music works.
    We all know underground producers, DJs and labels and this clearly isn’t about them. If Guetta “produces” a track for Nicki Minaj it’s because he has the star power to make that happen. Her label doesn’t care who actually does the work day to day in the studio and neither should we.
    Having a ghost producer as a true underground artist makes no sense anyway.

  • Kyle

    Honestly they’re right. While its possible to be good at most parts of the music making process, sometimes its simply more efficient to pay other people who you know are better than you at certain tasks. Because you know you’ll get a better product. Even in the business world, companies join forces to create a single product. For example, Apple doesn’t physically produce every part that goes into their computers. They focus on what they do best and let other companies focus on what they do best, whether that’s a video card, sound card, processor, monitor, some microchip, etc.

    A person can be a great song writer and musician, but maybe they’re a mediocre mixing engineer or mastering engineer. Maybe a person is a brilliant arranger anger and mixer, but isn’t very good at sound design nor prefers to spend their time this way, they instead use presets and samples for their tracks. A common example of this is mastering. Most artists don’t master their own work. It’s not recommended. If you know anything about music production, you’ll understand that each of these things, while related, takes an entirely different set of skills, that few people master all of them.

    I think it’s realistic to expect an artist to at least contribute a considerable amount to the production process. I would say they should contribute more than any other person in order to pass off the track as their own. If that means you did 60% and another person did 40%, or maybe you did 30% and 7 other people did 10%, either way I think its ok for that person who did the most work to claim the track as their own. Also, I would argue that the actually writing and arranging of the song is the most important. Who ever is writing the melodies, programming the drums, arranging the song, should get extra credit for the hrs they put it. I can see how one would argue that this person is the true artist while the other people involved are just technicians.

  • The Tuss. Just The Tuss.

  • BrandonD

    DJs and EDM “producers” are not artists, but rather the logical conclusion of the western world’s inane valuation of celebrity over substance.

    However, approaching us right now is a new generation of musicians who will be knocking them back into their proper place, actual legitimate artists who understand composition and performance, and at the same time are not mired in some bygone musical era.

  • Antti Rasi

    I wrote a while ago about this subject. And just few days ago got a shady mail from Mark Z of Got Grooves again where he accuses of someone else doing his shady marketing stunts, though the mails he sent me earlier had the same signature, so I think it’s soon time to write another rant, but in the meanwhile here’s the first:


  • Timothy James Nunns

    interesting read 🙂

  • EDM is Dead

    I managed a Grammy-winning “DJ/producer” for a bit. Not only could he not finish a single track in a year (with an acclaimed ghostwriter), but he asked me to teach him Ableton. Really dude? You won the Grammy… #CanYouPutMoreCrashInTheCrash

  • Mark

    I produced many tracks for few big guys that i don’t want to mention right now, and made me sad to know that some of my heroes actually do that. Plus i never got paid for what i did, so it will go public very soon unfortunately.

  • james

    you can add to the list: Steve Aoki, Brodinski, Busy P etc.. EDM is a joke and a lie

  • Guest

    Don’t care who makes the music. Just glad it’s being played.

  • Josh

    I don’t understand the big deal about authenticity with performers. Other forms of entertainment use deception all the time and it benefits us, the fans. To entertain us. Is it wrong for a magician to cut a lady in half, since he’s really not cutting her? Does he need to explain the truth behind the trick for us to believe his credibility as a performer? Is the director of Forest Gump a fraud because in the scene where he meets JFK, it was all fake? The fact is that these aren’t doctors we’re talking about, this is entertainment. I, like most people, could care less if I’m being deceived by people trying to entertain me. As long as I’m entertained, who gives a f**k?

  • C.X

    I never understood EDM so called producers anyway or the djs of that genre of music. Some think they are djs cause they play with filters and think they producers because the use beat sync turntables or software. PUT THEM ON SOME REAL 1200S AND THE WOULD BE LOST, PUT A SP1200 OR MPC INFRONT OF THEM THEY WOULD LOST.SHOUT OUT TO SOME OF THEM UK DUDES FROM THE 90″S ON THE S950 AND THE DJS ON 1200S USING VYNIL AND SERATO AND KNOW HOW TO MIX AND SCRATCH AND ROCK A CROWD AND THE STUDIO.

  • I’m really sad to see these kinds of things happen. How can you hold the work of someone else as your own? How can you use material someone else made, and say… THIS is mine. I made this. Get jobs because of it. Get “fame”. Get rich? How can they feel good about that? I just don’t get it. I would feel sick to the bone and hate myself. Its fake, and in my opinion it is a travesty. The producers should get the credit not the artist. I evenly blame the ghost producers for taking the money. I’m sure the bribe is mighty fine, but it is destroying everything in this culture.

    How can we trust that anyone that DJs frequently around the globe actually puts out their own stuff? Sure enough they could use a laptop on the road, but the quality would never be as good when producing on an airplane or on the road. Unless you do a Mat Zo twist and bring the studio on the bus. My point is that producers that spend hours upon hours in the studio whom never gets noticed get left in the shadow of big producers that have nothing to do with the music. Is this how we want to lead our lives? A lie? Because it makes you live like a rock star. Some people are damaged, and they need to be fixed. This extends way beyond music, but it is a good place to start as people are easily united through it.

  • Sebastian Osorio Valenzuela

    I don`t think this is a big shocking story to people, this kind of stuff in the music industry has been done for years and not only with this genre. Everybody knows that artists for example like Elvis didn’t write a lot of his more famous songs. The ghost producer need the “stars, icons” as much as they need them, you get your credit by the fulfillment of your own work and maybe someday you’ll get your chance, as i don’t think that everybody who consider himself an artist does it for the fame or the money, and the people who really want to see and hear artists like this they will find them. In the mean time for the other people, the music industry has to survive like every other business. One thing is the music and other thing the music business.

  • aggy

    so i would like to pose a question. I’m going to use Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike as my example because I’ve herd a lot of speculation that they ghost produce. How do you become that big name ghost producers want to work with without ever producing something great to get you there in the first place?

  • hypnotic

    For example, i’m a very talented DJ and musician, great in playing
    synths, creating melodies, combining many layers of sound, and a wizard
    when it comes to arrangement, but – i don’t know the technical
    stuff..ie. how to make the track sound technically well produced and
    good enough to release (regarding raw sound quality). So i have
    everything except the technical knowledge, and If i had a sound engineer
    to help realize my ideas, i would’ve had like 5 top albums so far….so
    this “ghost producing” can make sense in some cases, but it has many
    levels. Of course that it’s crap if someone is doing all the work for
    you, and you just put your name on it…that’s awful, but in my case
    (and i’m not sure i’m the only one) it would actually be healthy and
    productive. There are tons of sound technicians who will never make a
    great track as they are simply not talented for making melodies,
    combining them, etc…so a healthy symbiosis is a good thing.

    • Alex Humberstone

      if you dont have the skills for arrangement and mixing then you should learn instead of getting someone to do it yourself.
      it takes years to master mixing/mastering why should people like you or tiesto take shortcuts? ghost producing is disgusting really.

      • Whipper Snapper

        mixing and mastering are very different than producing, practically no one in the music industry masters their own work, ghost producing is about having someone write the song for you, not master it…

        • Alex Humberstone

          um you need to wake up plenty of people master their own work

  • hypnotic, Good luck in your edm musical production but do it yourself. Learn the skills to pay the bills! FOLLOW PLS 😉 @joncoopermusic

  • dadarkman

    I get a good part and agree on what the writer is trying to bring up, like people who are getting these online hush-hush tracks. However he lost me when he wrote “Any “help” a producer may receive, then, qualifies as ghosting.” That’s absolutely a false statement. It is only classify as “ghostwriting” if and only if that “help” is not given credit on paper. If credit is given then the help is totally legit. Then he start labeling a Producer/Engineer combo work as “Ghostwriting” Really? It’s so weird and unbelievable that the writer himself and some people commenting below are putting a Producer/Engineer combo work as “ghost writing”. Jesus! where are you guys getting that distorted and untrue crap from? A combo work relationship that exist in every music industry across the globe (from Motwon to Ska) and encompassing every modern Genres before anybody knew that EDM would ever get popular? GOH!!! All these tracks that Giorgo Moroder, Goerge Clinton, Timbaland, Dre, Just Blaze, Prince, Kravitz, Rolling Sones, (I mean, the list could go on and on), put out, all have an engineer behind them to mix and master; This is basic music collaboration 101 and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, regardless it is a combo in EDM or Bachata. There’s something called “liner notes” for anybody to go look up for those credits. Yes, if the credit is hidden or not stated then I understand it is ghosting. However, ain’t no way that I send my track for an engineer to mix and master, give him credit on record, then someone who have no idea about how the industry works would go claim that it is “Ghost”. What’s worst, some others are stuck in the mindset that it is mandatory that a producer should do all the work; I mean 100%, as if the engineers who go to school for these particular jobs should just give up getting work? SMH!!! STOP referring Producer/Engineer work as “ghost writing”, STOP it!!!

    • 3NiGma

      i agree 100%. I’m a 15 year old dj and producer but I don’t get enough sets or sales to drop out of school so I don’t have enough time to do a lot of producing so I master for many people instead. most recently I have helped alex skrindo

  • Richard Garside

    Paul Oakenfold apparently can’t even write a melody?!?! That guys been going since the 80’s u think he would have managed hum a tune at some point over the last 30 years. Saying that Paul Oakenfold can’t write a melody is basically like saying he’s just a lifeless sack of skin thats been inflated and propped up next to the turn tables. Yes I know it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it. Production is about the end product and if its your vision and you pull the skills together to make that a reality its your track. The mix engineer does the mixing, recording engineer does the recording, the arranger writes the harmonies, the mastering engineer masters the track, the performers play their instruments. Many hands can touch a track its fine. Personally I like to do it all my self accept for mastering as I find the process rewarding. I wouldn’t be 100 per cent comfortable being a ghost writer though. I think its wrong to claim something as your own that isn’t and people should be credited for their work on a record.

    • andrewi

      “Production is about the end product and if its your vision and you pull the skills together to make that a reality its your track.”

      Aside from the “it’s your vision” bit, that’s not production, that’s management. A producer needs to have technical expertise to actually instruct those that work under him articulately enough to claim creative ownership. Just as Peter Jackson needs to understand what makes a good shot (even if he isn’t a cameraman), what makes good lighting (even if he’s hired a team to handle it), and how to gel those elements together (even if he has a production manager to get the orders he gives out to the relative team members), a music producer playing the executive role rather than hands on needs to understand the roles that he is having done for him to at least an intermediate degree before you can reasonably state that he is creatively controlling all the hands that touch the record.

      Remember the difference between a ghost producer and a producer with a team is that the former isn’t even on the song credits and the latter definitely is. Add those elements together and you’ll find there’s a big difference between Skrillex not making his own signature sounds and Kanye hiring Bam to play drums for him.

    • Sick and tired

      I saw him last night. He can no longer mix a dj set either.

  • João P Mendonça

    Some people write, some people play, some people spin, some have Ideas, some mix and produce, some create and even some people do combinations of those… they’re all good people, but if you really want to say that YOU DID IT, any of that mentioned, please go home and LEARN HOW TO DO IT! It’s as simple as that!
    It’s not a shame not knowing how to arrange or to conduct an orchestra, but it is a marvelous thing if you can do it.
    But none of these have LAWS regulating as COMPOSING has, if you had a GHOST writing you material you call your own, this is an INFRINGEMENT of author rights laws.

  • Jeremy james

    So many producers that call themselves djs are horrible performers when forced to not play prerecorded sets. They play tracks and mix the last 10 seconds of a song with the next one then pretend to be doing making sounds or playing effects when every aspect of the music was already produced that way. They could have walked out hit play and came back 4 hours later.